The five largest seaports in Ukraine in terms of transshipment volume handled 9.35 million tons of cargo or 93.3% of the combined transshipment volume of all the seaports in the country in January 2021.

The Ukrainian Seaport Authority (USPA) announced this on Tuesday, the CFTS portal reports.

The Pivdennyi seaport handled 3.7 million tons of cargo in January 2021 (19.6% less than it handled in January 2020), the Mykolaiv seaport handled 1.98 million tons (24.3% less), the Odesa seaport 1.71 million tons (15.5% less), the Chornomorsk seaport 1.42 million tons (38.2% less), and the Mariupol seaport 526,000 tons (4.5% less).

"Port operators in Ukrainian seaports handled 10,016,260 tons of cargo in the first month of 2021, which is 3,469,560 tons or 25.7% less than they handled in the same period last year," the USPA said in a statement.

According to Viacheslav Voronnyi, director of the department for organizing the operations of seaports at the USPA’s management apparatus, the reduction of transshipment volumes in seaports in January 2021, compared with the same period last year, was due to several reasons. In particular, the reasons include a reduction of grain exports by 1,946,280 tons or 42% in January 2021 compared with January 2020 and a reduction of the processing of containers of agricultural products by 21.6% to 33,900 tons (increase of freight costs). Another reason is the reduction of the crop harvest due to drought and the delay of crop harvest in the 2020/2021 fiscal year.

In addition, the USPA representative named high prices due to shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic and nonfulfillment of futures contracts among the reasons.

"It should be noted that the volume of grain cargo that was collected in Ukraine in 2020 was 9.7 million tons less than last year, but the downward trend in the handling of these goods should end by the time the new harvest begins," the USPA said in the statement.

Imports of coking coal also fell by 612,560 tons or 81.6%, compared with 2020, due to delays in coal supplies on the world market, the closure of the main coal ports in Australia due to the COVID pandemic, and the change of supply schemes.

In addition, the volume of transshipment of imported containers reduced by 15% to 36,400 TEU, compared with the same period last year, due to a reduction of the import of passenger vehicles and consumer goods in containers, which was caused by a reduction in consumption against the backdrop of an increase in the cost of sea freight rates due to a shortage of containers around the world due to the rapid increase in traffic between the United States and China at the end of 2020.

According to the USPA, another important reason for the fall of the overall indicators is the fall of the volume of ore transit by 93.6% or 343,750 tons, compared with 2020, due to the cessation of ore supplies to Metalloinvest (Mikhailovsky GOK) from the Russian Federation through the Pivdennyi seaport as a result of the launch of ore transshipment through the Ultramar terminal in the seaport of Ust-Luga (Russia) in October 2020.